|Stone Mountain and Daughter is in Berkeley, California, and they have a complete sewing school to complement their store. Their website lists the current brochure of all their classes.
In addition to basic sewing and the second level to basic sewing, they have a "Sew lab" every friday where people of any level can come and get help from an expert, and they have specific detailed classes, such as making a seam book, a class that teaches the individual skills that are used over and over, a class just on zippers, just on waistbands etc. You name it and they have it. The also offer classes by designers for particular garmets.
The class i took with them was sewing 1A, the basics, for brand new beginners, or re-entry sewers who need a refresher course on the very basics.
The class was 5 sessions, and cost $140.00 They offer the option of using their bernina machines, or for you to bring your own machine. The class size is limited to 6, and each class was 3 hours long.
I'm sure the class differs by who the instructor is, but from what I hear, all of their instructors are very good. The woman who taught my class was Terri Lewis (her website is www.sewpurpledreams.com) She teaches at the San Francisco Fashion Institute and has been in the Industry for over 20 years. I loved her. She was very kind and patient, and explained things in fine detail, and did not get annoyed when I had a hard time retaining a skill or concept.
I loved the class. We made a bathrobe. Prior to the class, they sent out a shopping list of materials, that included the pattern and all notions, sewing gauge, chalk, ruler, taper measure...everything. They offered a 20% discount on anything we needed for the class.
The class taught me shortcuts that the patterns omitted, and explained things that the pattern companies take for granted. She also taught several options for particular methods, such as seam finishes, so that I left knowing more than just how to follow that particular pattern. I left with more confidence on how to read a pattern, understand the directions, and modify them if I needed to. She taught us to pay close attention to detail, and went over the basics such as nap, directional sewing, measurments, alterations, etc in fine detail.
I ended the class with a really pretty and nicely made bathrobe, that I've been using regularly ever since, and with more confidence that I could indeed learn this elusive skill. I also made a few friends, as the other women in the class were very friendly.
I'm signed up for their level 2 class. They have 2 level 2 classes. One is where you pick a pattern and they help you with whatever you choose to work on. The other is where the teachers teaches the second layer of basics that we use over an over in all patterns (various zippers, various waistbands etc). I decided to take the one where we work on a specific pattern, but haven't figured out what pattern to take in yet.
I also really want to take some of the one day classes with designers. They offer a 4 session class on how to draft your perfect pant pattern, and how to apply those measurements to a variety of pant styles. I *really* want to take that one too. They have a similar one for skirts. Fred Bloembaum teaches many classs there as well, and I hope to take at least two of hers there, her reversible pant class and her cassandra skirt class. If I do, I'll review them here for you.
I took a private class with Fred to make her Helena dress, and she was so darn nice and sweet. She was patient, and yet didn't hesitate to show me stuff that I thought was way over my head but turned out to be easily retained due to her careful explanation, demonstration, and insistance that she watch me do it a few times before leaving. She was also happy to answer further questions I had over the phone after the private class was over. I wore the dress to my Christmass party, and it felt so good to have people ask me where I bought the beautiful dress I was wearing!
So, to sum it up, the class I had rocked, and friends of mine who have taken the same class their with different teachers also really loved their class. The space they teach in is large, airy, very well lit, and comfy, with plenty of cutting tables and irons for everyone to use with no waitinng. I can't say enough good things about it. It did a lot to build my enthusiasm for this art form, whiich is brand new for me and I never thougjt would be something I'd enjoy or be good at.
I hope this review helps!